Los Angeles Kings: Why Drew Doughty Has Started to Earn His Money

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has started to earn his huge long-term contract following a phenomenal performance in the team's Stanley Cup title run during last year's playoffs. However, the beginning of his first season as a high-paid star didn't get off to a great start.

Doughty scored just two points in October of last season, and racked up just five points in November, all of which came in three straight games. It was a terrible start for the young defenseman after it took many months to finalize his eight-year, $56 million contract.

A breakout 2009-10 season vaulted expectations of Doughty to new and maybe unfair levels, but after seeing his points totals drop for two consecutive years, fans had every right to question his potential.

Year GP G A PTS +/- 2009-10 82 16 43 59 20 2010-11 76 11 29 40 13 2011-12 77 10 26 36 -2 His new contract was not a popular one in Los Angeles after a lackluster 2010-11 regular season and playoff performance made Kings fans rethink how good of a player Doughty would be going forward.

When the Kings barely made the 2012 NHL playoffs, expectations weren't very high—especially since their opponents in the first round were the defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks.

Once the Kings began their playoff run, the team was bolstered by Doughty's rise in production at both ends of the ice. Doughty scored 16 points in 20 playoff games, including six points in six Stanley Cup Final games against the New Jersey Devils, as well as an important goal in the series-clinching Game 5 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

His performance in the playoffs proved why Doughty is one of the elite offensive defensemen in the NHL. His offensive talents are spectacular, and his puck-moving ability is a real asset to the Kings power play.

What wasn't talked about enough during the playoffs was Doughty's defensive performance. His ph...

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